I skated with the 1994 New York Rangers
Being a New York Rangers season ticket holder certainly has its advantages. One of the great things about being a subscriber are events like skating with members of the 1994 New York Rangers on Garden ice on February 10th.
When I received the invite I immediately checked with my wife and made sure we had no set plans for that day. Heck, even if we did have plans, I wasn’t going to pass up this chance to rub shoulders with some of the players who slayed the 1940 monster. Thankfully, she confirmed the date was opened and I sent my sales rep an RSVP ASAP.
I thought to myself that this was a perfect way to end a weekend that started out with me being at the World’s Most Famous Arena on Friday night February 8th to honor the team that 25 years ago, allowed all of us die-hard Blueshirt fans to exhale and finally feel that wonderful feeling of being a champion. All fans in attendance received replica championship rings, which I must admit, are pretty darn cool! As has been well documented by other members on the ForeverBlueshirts staff, the ceremony to honor the heroes of 1994 was incredible and memorable and several other fantastic superlatives.
As I arrived in Penn Station Sunday and made my way upstairs towards the Garden entrance, my wife taps me on my left shoulder, points to her right and asks, “isn’t that David Quinn”? I was unable to see his face as he was walking away from me, but my wife adds, “It had to be him. I can tell from his piercing eyes.” For a split second, I wanted to run after the Ranger coach to get a picture and an autograph. I decided not to. He was probably in deep reflection about that evening’s game against Toronto and I did not want to bother him. So, we proceeded to head inside to the arena, checked in at the front desk and filled out the necessary paperwork and mandatory waivers.
The Garden staff brought us all to that area behind the glass from where Al Trautwig does the MSG pregame show. We laced up our skates, and as soon as we got the go-ahead, a couple of hundred of us, donned in various Ranger jerseys and shirts, made our way through the tunnel and onto the ice. Talk about an exhilarating experience…
There were three 1994 heroes among us. Stephane Matteau, Jay Wells and Glen Anderson. I wobbled my way up to those esteemed gentleman, held on for dear life as I shook their hands (I can ice skate as well as a Ford Pinto handles in inclement weather) exchanged pleasantries and took a few pictures. Sure, I was hoping more prominent members of the 1994 team like Mark Messier and Brian Leetch, would have been there. It was still quite an honor to meet anyone from the team that forever silenced the dreaded “1940” chant.
June 14th, 1994 was a month and a day before my 19th birthday. I am 43 years old as I sit here penning this piece and the reality is that I have not witnessed any of my teams win its respective sport league’s title since that fateful late spring day. You see, I am a Mets, Jets and Rangers fan. Your sympathy is appreciated, but not required.
In my almost 40 years of allegiance, I have had just two championships overall to hang my hat on. The 1986 Mets were the other. The 1994 ceremony, as spectacular as it was, was bittersweet. It has been 25 years since the last time any of my teams had a parade down the Canyon of Heroes and judging by the current lousy state of my three floundering franchises, it may be another two decades before any of them makes it to the proverbial top of the mountain.
My teams disappoint me and let me down so frequently that I felt compelled to write a book about the misery. The title is ‘Long Suffering…The Trials and Tribulations of a Mets, Jets and Rangers Fan” currently available on Amazon.com. If you are also a fan of those three teams, or any combination of, I think you will be able to relate to the experiences that I entail in this endeavor.
1994 was my year. The New York Rangers were my team. That Cup means so much to me and to the millions of other members of the Garden Faithful who endured through countless heartbreaks and perpetual heartache. As Jeff Gorton and his staff do everything in their power to prevent another 54 year championship drought, on one bright, shining day in New York City, we were reminded of what it feels like to be in the presence of greatness. And, for us devoted and unbreakable fans of the Mets, Jets and Rangers, that is a feeling we know all too seldom.